Over twenty veterinary professionals from practice and industry took part in an online discussion last week hosted by Veterinary Women In Leadership (VWIL) on the topic “What can the career stories of the past teach the leaders of the future?”
A broad range of participants, including vets, RVNs, practice owners and directors and industry professionals, brought a variety of different perspectives on topics including developing confidence in making career decisions, tackling issues of practice culture, and how veterinary leaders can best support inclusivity and diversity within the profession.
The VWIL initiative, a collaboration between Veterinary Woman and XL Vets, aimed to explore what can be learned from each other’s experiences of success and failure to help guide career development and facilitate strong future leadership within the profession.
Participants demonstrated leadership on inclusivity and diversity, discussing how to promote inclusive practice cultures and engage new generations of vets.
“It is powerful to acknowledge that we’re not homogenous,” suggested one. “We can model making space for different sorts of people… and we can advocate. You don’t have to be part of a marginalised group to call out poor behaviour. It’s important to be honest, but it doesn’t have to be adversarial.”
Another commented, “Some people get things wrong with the best of intentions, so trying to be kind by being part of an allyship is important for good results.”
Leaders discussed the importance of evidence-based policies and training on diversity and inclusion, and other “soft skills”, with the view that they are essential CPD within the profession. “Diversity and inclusion are also quality of care issues. We are not doing our jobs properly if we are not inclusive of people,” said one veterinary advisor.
“Veterinary Women In Leadership (VWIL) is inspiring and facilitating strong, healthy, representative leadership of the future across the veterinary industry. We are pleased that we are able to provide opportunities for robust discussion and bring together like-minded people from different parts of the profession who are positive about the future and can share ideas and support each other,” said Jenny Langridge, acting editor of Veterinary Woman.
“Feedback from this event is that people welcome the chance to share their views and hear other perspectives and are keen to build on this with continuing dialogue and a shared purpose. We plan to make a recording of the discussion available online in the near future so that others can benefit from the experiences and insights of this very pro-active group of vet professionals.”
VWIL will be running an online CPD event on 7 December 2022, entitled “Realise Your Leadership Potential”, aiming to explore actions delegates can take towards reaching their career goals. To register, visit the website.
In the meantime, the VWIL Facebook group helps to support discussion and networking.